“If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … ” began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of “B” and “Hiroshima.”
The Need of Being Versed in Country Things by Robert Frost
Read the rest of the interview here.
Only write what you know is very good advice. I do my best to stick to it. I wrote about gods and dreams and America because I knew about them. And I wrote about what it’s like to wander into Faerie because I knew about that. I wrote about living underneath London because I knew about that too. And I put people into the stories because I knew them: the ones with pumpkins for heads, and the serial killers with eyes for teeth, and the little chocolate people filled with raspberry cream making love, and the rest of them.
You’ve had twenty years of living, and dreaming. You probably have a fair idea of what it’s like to experience emotions, and to go places, and to do things, and to change. You’ve wondered about things you don’t know. You’ve guessed. You’ve hoped. You’ve probably lied — oddly enough, similar skills to those you’ll have used in convincing a teacher that you actually did do your homework but it was stolen by an escaped convict dressed as a nun will come in useful in writing fiction. Ditto for the skills involved in writing a passing grade essay on something you know absolutely nothing about. Relax. Fake it. Mean it.
And you don’t need to figure it all out before you start writing. You can figure it out while you’re writing. Or you can fail to figure it out; that’s allowed too.” —
Actually, this time I’m quoting me, in my journal:neil-gaiman)
Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.
Researchers have long known that the “classical” language regions, like Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.
THIS IS AWESOME.”
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.
We no longer have to just take iconic writers’ words on the power of fiction. The New York Times’ Annie Murphy Paul explores the neuroscience of your brain on fiction and how narratives offer a way to engage the brain’s capacity to map other people’s intentions, known in psychology as “theory of mind.”
You Brain, On Fiction.
(Source: , via lauriesafari)
Salinger’s letter to Hemingway
A fascinating letter, particularly self-reflective observations like, “I am a jerk, but the wrong people mustn’t know it,” and “Nothing was wrong with me except that I’ve been in an almost constant state of despondency.”
It’s worth remembering that Salinger saw about as much combat in World War II as anyone.
Love the tone.